Lionel Messi’s Barcelona transfer decision could be bad news for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta

Lionel Messi’s reported request to leave Barcelona during the summer window could impact Arsenal’s transfer plans.

According to the BBC, the Argentina international sent a fax to the club on Tuesday saying he wishes to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.

It remains to be seen if Messi does indeed move on before deadline day, but a number of clubs including Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have already been linked with his signature.

A move to the Emirates Stadium for Messi is highly unlikely, although the Gunners have been linked with one of the 33-year-old’s teammates in Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian spent the 2019/20 campaign on loan at Bayern Munich – winning the Champions League last weekend – and is seen as an option for Mikel Arteta who wants to add some creativity to his squad this summer.

“Look at the players that we had in the past at this club in those positions,” Arteta told reporters last month. “You go back to Cazorla, to Rosicky, to Arshavin when he played there, to Ramsey when he played there, to Mkhitaryan when he came in.

“That is a lot of players who are now not here. We have to renew that cycle, because if not, those kind of players won’t be there for us anymore.

“They are a big part of what any squad needs.”

However, Messi’s potential departure from Barcelona could be bad news for the Gunners head coach in attempts to land Coutinho.

This is because if the no.10 shirt is vacated at the Camp Nou then Coutinho could take it on. After all it’s the shirt number he’s worn at Liverpool as well as Bayern Munich.

Furthermore, he could free up the no.7 shirt which is Antoine Griezmann’s favoured squad number.

With that said, Coutinho himself remains in the dark as to what the future holds.

“I haven’t thought [about it],” Coutinho said. “Now I have to go back to Barcelona; I want to work hard to have a great year.

“I don’t know if it will be there [Barca] but I want to work hard.”